The Difference Between Being Nice and Being Kind

By Oliver Johnston

According to Oliver Johnston, a writer for the blog, being nice and being kind are two totally different things. Being nice projects an inauthentic wall of unapproachable, unrealistic optimism while being kind projects an open, genuine and endearingly vulnerable sincerity that fosters human connection. Johnston breaks down the nuance between these two demeanors.

Being nice is socially acceptable but lacking in many ways. Johnston equates being nice with being cordial, a mere attempt to project surface level pleasantness to get through obligatory interactions. Being permanently optimistic can push people away and ignore the reality of life, including the struggles of others. Johnston was made aware of his own shortcomings as an overly nice person by his cousin who pointed out that his demeanor came off as fake.

Kindness is a more genuine way of projecting an authentic positive outlook, one that is more welcoming to others. Johnston suggests starting small. For example, one could change overused cordial questions like “How are you?” into something more personal like “How have you been feeling?” For Johnston, these small changes reflect a mindfulness that niceness lacks. Being kind offers emotional vulnerability and makes room for the reality of life’s ups and downs in the conversation. Since becoming aware of the difference, Johnston has noticed his human connections have become richer.

To find out more about the case for kindness from Project Happiness, find the full blog post here: The Difference Between Being Nice and Being Kind